Comeback from Shoulder Injury

I recently read a thread on here that dealt with back injuries and how long it took people to come back from their back injuries. I would be more interested in hearing about people who came back from shoulder injuries and what it took to come back fully from their injury. It has been my experience along with others I have trained with that shoulder injuries are probably the hardest to overcome.

Most people I have known who had a shoulder injury were never the same again. They just had to learn to live with the injury and while there are steps one can take to still train with a bum shoulder(proper warm up,wear bench shirt,rotate full ROM with partials)from what I have seen once you have shoulder problems it is always going to be an issue.

What was your shoulder injury?

There is a lot of info on this on this site.

For example, here is a progression Eric Cressey posted a couple years ago. I used something similar:

You’re correct that it isn’t a good idea to jump right back into things with full range of motion and loading. I favor the following progession (although slight medications in rapidity of progression are always made based on symptoms):

Body Weight Push-up > Weighted Push-up > Cable Crossover from Low Pulley > Cable Crossover from Hip Height > Neutral Grip DB Floor Press > Neutral Grip Decline DB Press > Pronated Grip Decline DB Press > Barbell Floor Press > Decline Barbell Press > Flat DB Press > Incline DB Press > Barbell Bench Press > Barbell Incline Press > DB Military Press > Barbell Military Press/Push Press > Behind the Neck Presses

Note: Some trainees don’t even need to go as far as the end, as the cost:benefit ratio for loaded behind-the-neck exercises is way out of whack for some people post-injury.

The rationale for these progressions are:

a) The scapular and humeral stabilizers are most effective in closed chain positions (justifying the push up).
b) Impingement symptoms are most likely to be aggravated with flexion and/or abduction of the humerus beyond 90-degrees.
c) Traction (pulling the humeral head away from the glenoid fossa, as with a cable crossover) is less traumatic to the previously injured muscles than approximation (forcing the humeral head into the fossa).
d) Internal rotation (as seen with pronated grips) mechanically decreases the subacromial space, increasing the risk of re-injury.

With this progression, I like to start recovering trainees off with long eccentrics in the 6-8 rep ranges. In many cases, high-speed movements like speed benches and push jerks can be the most problematic, so I avoid these early on. It’s important to pay attention to not only how the shoulder feels during the exercise, but also what you feel in the 12 or so hours afterward. If you’re hurting, you’ve likely jumped the gun on your rehabilitation.

During this time, keep up working hard to strengthen your scapular retractors and depressors and the external rotators of your humerus. In fact, your volume on these exercises should still be greater than that of internal rotations and protractions. Ice post-exercise and don’t do too much too soon, and you’ll be back on track in no time. [/quote]

Well over the course of my lifting career I’ve had many shoulder injuries. Most have been laterial based, meaning I couldn’t lift my arm above a certain point laterially. I delt with it, took the supplements to help elevate things. All seemed to work, until about 3 weeks ago, my left shoulder has been aching/hurting all the time for several months, I forced myself through workouts, lifted the bar out of the rack with my head for shoulder presses, you name it. Until I heard a pop while doing 2 board presses. I laid off for a week and got back on a joint support supplement.

My ROM improved, but the pain is still there, I think it’s a build up of scar tissue and I would comfirm it with the help of a doctor if I had the time to go to a doctor. For now I’ve gotten the supplements, I do the “cuff complex” everytime I train and things are improving. It still hurts and I know one day it will be better again just like in the past. I’m working on weak points to help, in fact lastnight I did scapula presses and I haven’t done them in probably 12-15 years.

Thanks for the response Ruggerlife and Braunbeck.

I was diagnosed with biceptal tendonitis years ago but it has always come back. Also I broke my collarbone years earlier on the same side that has been causing me problems. Although the collarbone never bothers me, I have been told
that it contributes to my shoulder woes.

I have read quite a few articles on this site(shoulder savers,etc.) but I don’t believe I have read that article with the progression that you provided. Although, I do a similar sort of progression when I get back into my training after being forced to rest the shoulder for a period of time.